DARK MATTER: Science Gallery

DARK MATTER: Science Gallery

Until 26 August, a group exhibition including work by Steven Claydon is on display at the Science Gallery in London. The exhibition, titled DARK MATTER, presents the work of artists, scientists, philosophers and researchers engaged with exploring dark matter and anti-matter. 

DARK MATTER is an interdisciplinary exploration of the building blocks of the universe and the forces that hold them together. The exhibition incorporates research from the Physics department at Kings College London and combines it with work by artists including Claydon, Aura Satz, Carey Young, Gianni Motti and Tomás Saraceno.

Aura Satz, Tuning Interference: Dark Matter Radio

The exhibition introduces some of the most pressing and potentially transformative questions occupying physicists today to a wider audience. Over 95 per cent of our universe cannot yet be observed. By engaging with the phenomenon of Dark Matter, the works in the exhibition take an interesting position at the meeting-point of the tangible and the intangible, the visible and the invisible, the incomprehensible and that which we already understand. 

For DARK MATTER Steven Claydon presents Infra-idol Assembly (Thinking the Unthinkable) (above), a long-term project which co-examines the atom and the idol. The project was developed by Claydon in collaboration with IBM, who released a series of animations in 2013 to promote their Nobel prize winning work with moving and controlling atoms. The animations featured a stick figure made from Carbon Monoxide molecules titled A Boy and his Atom

Steven Claydon, Infra-idol Assembly (Thinking the Unthinkable); Moore Street Electricity Substation, Sheffield, 2016. Image via BBC.

Infra-idol Assembly (Thinking the Unthinkable) samples this footage as part of an interactive installation which calls into question the human tendency to anthropomorphise the non-human. Arranging atoms into the image of a man is a way for humans to relate the incomprehensible to their lives. It is also a way for people to keep in place the idea that humans - and in particular men - are rationa’ and in control of their environment, even when all evidence points to the contrary; 'that one might take the building blocks of the Universe and reconstruct them in the image of man' is more to do with the human need for control than with an innate human logic. The work also looks at the slippage between scientific enquiry, philosophical speculation and creativity.

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Top image: Gianni Motti, HIGGS: In Search of the Anti-Motti. 

DARK MATTER is at Science Gallery, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9GU until 26 August.

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